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The influence of past and present climate on the biogeography of modern mammal diversity.

TitleThe influence of past and present climate on the biogeography of modern mammal diversity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDavies JT, Buckley LB, Grenyer R, Gittleman JL
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Date Published2011 Sep 12
KeywordsAnimals, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Demography, Ice Cover, Mammals, Models, Biological, Stochastic Processes

<p>Within most terrestrial groups of animals, including mammals, species richness varies along two axes of environmental variation, representing energy availability and plant productivity. This relationship has led to a search for mechanistic links between climate and diversity. Explanations have traditionally focused on single mechanisms, such as variation in environmental carrying capacity or evolutionary rates. Consensus, though, has proved difficult to achieve and there is growing appreciation that geographical patterns of species richness are a product of many interacting factors including biogeographic history and biological traits. Here, we review some current hypotheses on the causes of gradients in mammal richness and range sizes since the two quantities are intimately linked. We then present novel analyses using recent datasets to explore the structure of the environment-richness relationship for mammals. Specifically, we consider the impact of glaciation on present day mammalian diversity gradients. We conclude that not only are multiple processes important in structuring diversity gradients, but also that different processes predominate in different places.</p>

Alternate JournalPhilos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci.